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22 June, 2024
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Family lawyers up in unexplained flu death

Sister had to pull strings for brother’s hospital care, health minister orders second probe


The family of 34-year-old Stavros Georgiou, a healthy man who was recently in and out of the hospital until his untimely death, filed a medical negligence complaint through their lawyer.

Georgiou got the flu last month and died Wednesday night at Nicosia General Hospital, hours after he was transferred from the Intensive Care Unit at Larnaca General. His sister Martha told reporters on Thursday that when she went with her brother to the hospital in Larnaca, the doctors diagnosed him with laryngitis and that they had to pull some strings to get him transferred to Nicosia.

“The doctor told us that Stavros was not in any trouble and he simply had a case of laryngitis. He then told us to go to the pharmacy and buy his cold medicines, cortisone and pain killers, and that was it, they sent us on our way,” Martha said on live TV.

The Larnaca doctor took the family aside and told them that it would be 'impossible' to get a bed unless they knew a minister to pick up the phone and 'make it happen'

The following day, Georgiou was having severe breathing problems and was rushed back to the Emergency Room where doctors supplied oxygen through a face mask. He was also given cortisone and then sent back home two hours later.

The sister says she had told the ER doctor that her brother was not doing well and then asked that Georgiou stay in the hospital.

“What can we do for these patients? You don’t want them in your homes and so you want to foist them on us over here,” the doctor replied according to the sister.

In the following couple of days, Georgiou was in and out of the hospital where he would put on the oxygen mask, be administered cortisone, and then sent back home.

Georgiou then called his sister on Saturday just as she was getting back to her house and told her that he was not doing well.

“I’m feeling awful. My belly has shifted to one side” Georgiou told his sister.

By Saturday evening, things took a turn for the worse with Georgiou collapsing on the floor of his apartment. He was rushed to the hospital where he was urgently admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

At that time, the sister asked for her brother to be moved to Nicosia’s ICU. She said the Larnaca doctor took the family aside and told them that it would be “impossible” to get a bed, unless they knew someone, such as a minister to pick up the phone and “make it happen.”

Family told to pull some strings

The family then contacted EDEK party leader and MP Marinos Sizopoulos, according to the sister, who arranged for Georgiou to be transferred to Nicosia on Wednesday where he died hours later.

Following their official complaint, the family said they would not speak to the media further based on the advice of their attorney. But Martha told reporters that they wanted answers.

“We want to know the reasons why our brother died,” she said.

Minister orders new probe

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou is also asking for answers, following the delivery of an initial report on Thursday which he described as “inadequate.”

“The information submitted was incomplete in such a way that no conclusion can be drawn. We gave new instructions for a more comprehensive Fact Report, so we can plan the next steps,” the minister said.

The minister did not say what kind of information was lacking from the report, but local media said it only accounted for events that took place after the transfer from Larnaca to Nicosia.

Ioannou said he expected to get a full picture on Friday, when the new report is due to be submitted.

Cyprus  |  Larnaca  |  Nicosia  |  flu  |  Stavros  |  Georgiou  |  hospital  |  doctor  |  medical  |  negligence  |  malpractice  |  influenza  |  health  |  minister  |  Ioannou

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